Tuesday 24 May 2016
Bridgend Male Choir has a proud history of performing under the baton of distinguished and talented musicians, and its newly appointed Musical Director, Ryan Wood, offers a breadth and diversity of experience that promises a continuation of that fine tradition.
He will take up his duties from the 9th June, following the recent resignation of former MD, Rhiannon Williams-Hale.
Patrons and devotees of Bridgend Male Choir will no doubt be familiar with Ryan as he has often performed in place of resident accompanist, Stephanie Bailey, when she has been otherwise engaged. However, his impressive background may not be so familiar to Bridgend audiences.
Having learned piano and cello as a schoolboy, he began his choral development as Assistant Accompanist with Maesteg Children’s Choir at the age of 13, a notable achievement in itself. Most recently he has held the position of Deputy Musical Director with Cowbridge Male Voice Choir as well as that of Accompanist with Maesteg Children’s Choir and, since 1999, with Côr Meibion Maesteg a’r Cylch. However, beyond that, his pedigree extends across South Wales where he has accompanied choirs and soloists including ‘Only Men Aloud’ and Grammy Award winning soprano, Rebecca Evans. He has also worked with singers, conductors and directors from all over Europe and the UK whilst performing as accompanist at the International Opera summer School at Porthcawl in 2010, organised by the internationally renowned soprano, Patricia O’Neill. Ryan has a keen interest in opera: he was therefore instrumental in the formation of a quartet of female singers called ‘Viva to the Diva’ for whom he has been concert accompanist, helping to raise thousands of pounds for charity. In this respect, apart from any other, he therefore fits well into the charitable ethos of Bridgend Male Choir.
Perhaps most significantly, Ryan’s interest in conducting has burgeoned alongside his piano skills. He is proud of having formed his own Maesteg mixed choir, ‘Noteworthy’, and was previously Musical Director of both Spotlight Theatre Company and Cowbridge Amateur Operatic Society. Unsurprisingly, his talents as a conductor were recognised in 2010 when he was invited to conduct a performance of Handel’s ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ for a live broadcast on BBC Radio Wales.
Now, as he looks to take up the baton as MD of Bridgend Male Choir, Ryan is confident that this is the challenge for which his musical development has clearly prepared him. The choir President, Chairman, Committee and choristers share his enthusiasm for this new stage in their prestigious history, and welcome him warmly as leader of their music team.